Premiere: Johnny The Boy ‘Black Aspirin’ – A Tribute To The Gone But Never Forgotten Iron Monkey

What more can be said about Iron Monkey? The purveyors of UK sludge and a band I’ve had a long love affair with when back in 1996, a friend sent me a bunch of their Union Mill released self-titled debut to sell through my old distro with a message saying ‘you’ll love this’. He wasn’t wrong as it blew my tiny mind, and wow did they fly off the virtual shelf.

Over the years, we’ve seen many impersonators, but no one came close to their sheer brutality, that is up until now, when Justin Greaves, drummer and founding member of Iron Monkey, dropped me an email with a title that simply read ‘JTB vs IM’. Contained within was a link to his nasty blackened crust bastard offspring Johnny The Boy paying homage to the late great Iron Monkey with the track Black Aspirin.

Johnny The Boy - Photo by Chantik Photography
Johnny The Boy – Photo by Chantik Photography

Featuring Justin on drums and guitar, Matt Crawford on bass and the jewel in the crown, Belinda Kordic on vokillz, upon first listen, to say my jaw hit the floor is an understatement as they ripped through this classic cut. Intrigued to know more about the recording, which was captured at Chapel Studios by Pieter Rietkerk during a recent Cripple Black Phoenix session, I asked Justin how it felt laying down an Iron Monkey track as it must have been quite emotional revisiting it after all this time, ‘Weird’ was his response.

He continued, ‘I don’t play drums as much these days, I don’t play drums live anymore, it’s been 25 years since Iron Monkey split up and I’ve not even thought about how the songs go. It actually came back really quickly, I did the recording with no click, like back in the day. I didn’t want to make anything better than the original, I just did it with the sounds I use nowadays with Johnny The Boy. I did enjoy the process, I guess I maybe do miss playing that stuff just a little bit.’

About whether they’d record any other Iron Monkey tracks in future, ‘Nah, I don’t think so. I would not have recorded this ordinarily, I always wanted to leave that band alone and just respect the memories, but I guess things are different now. And I would not have recorded it with any other vocalist, I think it only works because it’s Belinda and she has a voice which reminded me of Johnny [Morrow], plus the whole thing around being a female doing it, I feel is in keeping with the subversive spirit of the original Iron Monkey.

Johnny The Boy - Photo by Chantik Photography
Johnny The Boy – Photo by Chantik Photography

Asked if the track will get the physical treatment, ‘yes, the plan is to release it as a limited 7” along with a new Johnny The Boy track as a B-side, I think Season Of Mist will do this, that’s the plan anyway’, and when quizzed about live action, ‘We don’t have a booking agent as yet, so I think it just depends on what we can find or if someone wants to offer us some shows. We’re not desperate, but it would be really cool to play live.’

And as for future endeavours, ‘A new album will come as soon as possible. I’m just finishing up some extra Cripple Black Phoenix music recorded for our 20th anniversary year. Then another full-length Cripple Black Phoenix album. Johnny The Boy will hopefully fit in a recording session sometime within this year. There’s very little touring action these days, so we must be creative in the meantime. Otherwise, why even bother? Johnny The Boy shall do it again’.

Now today, it’s The Shaman’s absolute honour to bring you the bleakness that is Black Aspirin and to quote the band, ‘this is Johnny The Boy paying respect to the one and only Iron Monkey, the original band, 1995-1999′, what more is there to say only to click play below and Rest In Power John Paul Morrow

More On Johnny The Boy

Sometimes the best ideas come from spontaneity. Sometimes they come from gut instinct. When both happen simultaneously, anything is possible, unimaginable horrors included.

Born from a simple idea, and eventually coalescing over the last couple of years into a fully formed entity, Johnny The Boy make music that fucking hurts. Armed with a scabrous but sculpted blend of ice-cold black metal, excoriating sludge and sinewy, white-knuckle rock’n’roll, the trio’s musical identity has arrived, perfectly imperfect and ready to eviscerate.

Johnny The Boy - Photo by Chantik Photography
Johnny The Boy – Photo by Chantik Photography

Formed around a creative core of vocalist Belinda Kordic, guitarist Justin Greaves (both members of Crippled Black Phoenix) and bassist Matt Crawford (CBP Crippled Black Phoenix alumnus and live bassist), Johnny The Boy began life as an instinctive grab for something darker and nastier.

Brought together by a love of dark, twisted and extreme music and energised by an opportunity to return to the full-bore hostilities of their earlier creative years, Johnny The Boy‘s debut album You is the final proof that the best ideas cannot be stopped. A collaborative effort that brought the evil best out of everyone involved, it’s an album that has been stewed in real blood, sweat and tears. But mainly sweat.

Johnny The Boy 'You' Artwork
Johnny The Boy ‘You’ Artwork

Not just another ‘thing’, but an entirely box-fresh (but intrinsically rotten) means of expression, Johnny The Boy conjure a claustrophobic cyclone of serrated-edge riffs and bilious crescendos. Like the outer reaches of the Melvins’ back catalogue pumped backwards through a frosty, Bathory-fuelled prism, with marauding d-beats and moments of oppressive melancholy hurled in for extra impact.

Fuelled by decades of devotion to the infernal musical arts, Johnny The Boy bring something unique and undeniable to the table. You scream its defiance and vitality from first to last, while a sense that Greaves, Kordic and Crawford are sharing an act of profound catharsis with the world is unmistakable. Equal parts magick, malice and metal therapy Johnny The Boy ignores the rules and burns the fucking house down.

Johnny The Boy is:
Belinda Kordic – Vokillz
Justin Greaves – Drums, Guitar
Matt Crawford – Bass

Black Aspirin Credits:
Recorded at Chapel Studios, Lincolnshire
Mixed & Mastered by Pieter Rietkerk
Production by Justin Greaves

Johnny The Boy‘s debut album You was released last year through Season Of Mist and keep an eye on social evil for the announcement of Black Aspirin‘s physical release along with up-to-date news for Johnny The Boy and Cripple Black Phoenix.

Label: Season Of Mist
Johnny The Boy: Facebook | Bandcamp | Spotify | Instagram
Cripple Black Phoenix: Facebook | Bandcamp | Spotify | Instagram